Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Iowa

Written by:
September 13, 2022
Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the highest rate of food insecure children in Iowa

Food insecurity is a widespread problem in the United States, with people experiencing food insecurity in every single county in the nation. The nonprofit Feeding America describes food insecurity as "a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life."

Food insecurity hits children particularly hard. The USDA estimates that more than 5.5 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2021. Not having consistent access to enough food can affect cognitive abilities, overall health, moods, and attention spans—not to mention the psychological effects of living with scarcity.

Stacker compiled a list of counties in Iowa with the highest rate of food insecure children using data from Feeding America. Counties are ranked by highest percent of children with food insecurity as of 2020. Iowa has a child food insecurity rate of 11.0%, which ranks #8 lowest among all states.

States with the highest rate of food insecure children
#1. Louisiana: 21.5%
#2. New Mexico: 20.5%
#3. Mississippi: 20.4%
#4. Alabama: 19.8%
#5. Arkansas: 19.7%

States with the lowest rate of food insecure children
#1. North Dakota: 8.1%
#2. Massachusetts: 8.8%
#3. New Jersey: 9.0%
#4. Minnesota: 9.3%
#5. New Hampshire: 9.5%

Read on to see where food insecurity is most prevalent in Iowa.

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Billwhittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Butler County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.0% (390 total)
--- 4.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.1% (1,170 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $618,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.28
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Jason McLaren // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Greene County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.0% (240 total)
--- 4.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.6% (770 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $403,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Keokuk County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.0% (280 total)
--- 4.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.6% (970 total)
--- 2.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $477,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Hancock County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.1% (280 total)
--- 4.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.2% (870 total)
--- 3.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $460,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Gvetterick // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Union County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.1% (330 total)
--- 4.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.8% (1,210 total)
--- 2.0% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $686,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.52
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Hardin County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.2% (440 total)
--- 3.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.7% (1,310 total)
--- 4.1% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $631,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.99
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Alejandro Pulido // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Kossuth County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.2% (390 total)
--- 3.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.6% (1,290 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $630,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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Kevin Schuchmann // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Jones County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.3% (540 total)
--- 3.8% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.8% (1,610 total)
--- 4.0% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $816,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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C. A. Tucker // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Adair County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.4% (190 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.9% (630 total)
--- 2.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $357,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.52
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Scott Romine // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Clay County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.4% (450 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.8% (1,420 total)
--- 3.0% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $676,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Linn County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.4% (6,490 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.5% (16,980 total)
--- 4.3% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $9,222,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.37
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Monona County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.4% (220 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.8% (850 total)
--- 2.0% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $428,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.12
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Chuckmor // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Winnebago County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.5% (290 total)
--- 3.6% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.6% (800 total)
--- 4.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $423,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Jefferson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.6% (450 total)
--- 3.5% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.9% (1,790 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $833,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.89
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Mclarenj // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Ringgold County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.7% (150 total)
--- 3.4% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.9% (390 total)
--- 3.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $196,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.12
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Dan Breyfogle // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Cerro Gordo County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.8% (1,130 total)
--- 3.3% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.3% (3,560 total)
--- 3.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,883,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Decatur County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.9% (220 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.2% (810 total)
--- 1.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $447,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.43
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Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Humboldt County

- Child food insecurity rate: 12.9% (290 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.3% (890 total)
--- 2.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $434,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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Jsayre64 // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Clayton County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.0% (480 total)
--- 3.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.9% (1,730 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $920,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.30
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Jackson County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.0% (560 total)
--- 3.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.5% (1,650 total)
--- 3.3% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $821,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.09
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Kevin Schuchmann // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Mahaska County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.1% (700 total)
--- 3.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.3% (2,090 total)
--- 2.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,028,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.06
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Thug outlaw69 // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Muscatine County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.1% (1,390 total)
--- 3.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.2% (3,100 total)
--- 4.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,532,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.07
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Coasterlover1994 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Osceola County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.1% (180 total)
--- 3.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 7.3% (440 total)
--- 4.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $210,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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Skinzfan23 // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Pottawattamie County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.1% (2,850 total)
--- 3.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.6% (8,010 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $3,970,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.08
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Phinn // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Emmet County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.2% (250 total)
--- 2.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.1% (760 total)
--- 3.7% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $362,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.96
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Katie Haugland Bowen // Flickr

#25. Polk County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.3% (16,100 total)
--- 2.8% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.0% (38,870 total)
--- 3.8% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $21,556,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.44
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Bill Whittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Tama County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.4% (560 total)
--- 2.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.2% (1,400 total)
--- 3.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $675,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.99
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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Van Buren County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.5% (220 total)
--- 2.6% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.4% (670 total)
--- 2.4% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $313,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.90
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Lucas County

- Child food insecurity rate: 13.6% (260 total)
--- 2.5% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.1% (870 total)
--- 1.7% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $456,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Franklin County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.0% (330 total)
--- 2.1% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.2% (820 total)
--- 3.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $434,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Billwhittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Henry County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.1% (610 total)
--- 2.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.6% (1,710 total)
--- 3.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $861,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.13
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Woodard // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Fayette County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.2% (590 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.3% (1,830 total)
--- 2.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $929,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.15
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Tony Webster // Wikicommons

#18. Woodbury County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.2% (3,800 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.3% (8,500 total)
--- 3.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $4,276,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.12
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Ann Sullivan-Larson // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Wright County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.2% (430 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.5% (1,070 total)
--- 3.3% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $522,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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Nst101 // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Audubon County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.3% (160 total)
--- 1.8% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.0% (440 total)
--- 3.8% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $229,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.23
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Daniel Hartwig // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Marshall County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.4% (1,440 total)
--- 1.7% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.5% (3,390 total)
--- 3.3% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,634,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.99
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Page County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.6% (430 total)
--- 1.5% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.2% (1,390 total)
--- 2.6% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $699,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.12
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Judd Furlong // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Montgomery County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.8% (340 total)
--- 1.3% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.0% (910 total)
--- 2.8% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $451,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.08
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formulanone // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Scott County

- Child food insecurity rate: 14.8% (6,070 total)
--- 1.3% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 8.7% (15,060 total)
--- 3.1% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $7,884,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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Richc80 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Clinton County

- Child food insecurity rate: 15.1% (1,590 total)
--- 1.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.4% (4,840 total)
--- 1.4% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,408,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.09
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Floyd County

- Child food insecurity rate: 15.3% (540 total)
--- 0.8% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.0% (1,570 total)
--- 1.8% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $831,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.29
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Bill Whittaker // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Webster County

- Child food insecurity rate: 15.5% (1,190 total)
--- 0.6% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.1% (3,690 total)
--- 1.7% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,801,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.03
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Scott Romine // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Wayne County

- Child food insecurity rate: 15.9% (260 total)
--- 0.2% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.6% (620 total)
--- 2.2% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $325,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.25
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Robert Thall // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Lee County

- Child food insecurity rate: 16.1% (1,180 total)
--- 0.0% lower than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.9% (3,340 total)
--- 1.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,561,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.90
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David Wilson // Wikimedia

#6. Black Hawk County

- Child food insecurity rate: 16.8% (4,810 total)
--- 0.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 9.8% (12,900 total)
--- 2.0% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $6,573,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.17
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Joe Elliott // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Crawford County

- Child food insecurity rate: 17.2% (720 total)
--- 1.1% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.3% (1,750 total)
--- 1.5% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $910,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.23
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en:User:Cburnett // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Wapello County

- Child food insecurity rate: 18.3% (1,460 total)
--- 2.2% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 11.1% (3,880 total)
--- 0.7% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $1,806,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.89
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Jason McLaren // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Clarke County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.1% (440 total)
--- 3.0% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 10.9% (1,020 total)
--- 0.9% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $562,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.43
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Appanoose County

- Child food insecurity rate: 19.8% (550 total)
--- 3.7% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 13.2% (1,640 total)
--- 1.4% higher than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $763,000
--- Cost per meal: $2.89
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Ian Poellet // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Des Moines County

- Child food insecurity rate: 20.5% (1,830 total)
--- 4.4% higher than national average
- Food insecurity rate: 11.5% (4,520 total)
--- 0.3% lower than national average
- Annual food budget shortfall: $2,276,000
--- Cost per meal: $3.13

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